Eight militants and a soldier were killed in fresh clashes between security forces and Taliban militants in Pakistan's restive Swat valley and the adjoining tribal belt, the military said on Saturday.

The troops also captured 18 militants while 12 more surrendered to the security forces, the military said in a

statement. Five militants and a soldier were killed in an exchange of fire while security forces were conducting a search operation near Banjot in Swat valley.

Another soldier was injured in the skirmish. Nine militants were later captured by the troops.

As troops continued search and clearance operations across Swat and other parts of the Malakand division, two militants were apprehended near Khwazakhela.

Seven suspects were captured at Qambar, Kuza Banda and Nao. Twelve militants surrendered to security forces at Barshaur, Uzbak Banda and Kabal in Swat.

In the Bajaur tribal region, troops carried out a search operation at Chinar on the basis of a tip-off and killed three Afghan militants, the military said.

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